Rosie’s #Bookreview of Irish Family Tale SEASON OF SECOND CHANCES by @aimeealexbooks #TuesdayBookBlog

Season of Second ChancesSeason of Second Chances by Aimee Alexander

5 stars

Season Of Second Chances is contemporary Irish fiction which deals with the sensitive issue of domestic abuse.

Grace has left her husband and has returned to her home town on the west coast of Ireland with her two children. Here she hopes that they will embrace this quiet life compared to their city one in Dublin.  However, Grace finds this to be something of a ‘big ask’ as far as her teenagers are concerned, especially as it involves moving them mid-way through the school year.

She will also start afresh as a community doctor, replacing her father after his retirement due to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. In this small-town environment, Grace tries hard to avoid the gossips and to keep her past life a secret, but, having been away for many years, she discovers that she is treated with caution; an outsider. Each day that she and her family stay is another positive step towards healing from the abuse they suffered.

An easy five star read for me, this had all the makings of a one of my top books for the year. There’s something about a well-written tale set in rural Ireland that gets me every time. From the setting to the characters, it was so easy to lose myself in this story. The themes of domestic abuse and Parkinson’s disease were written with a realistic but sensitive hand and brought me to tears a couple of times. Des, Grace’s father, was one of my favourite characters, with his determination to protect his family and his wily ways of connecting with people. I definitely recommend this the those who enjoy endearing characters in a charming location.

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Book description

When leaving is just the beginning… A novel of family, love, and learning to be kind to yourself by award-winning, bestselling Irish author, Aimee Alexander.

Grace Sullivan flees Dublin with her two teenage children, Jack and Holly, returning to the sleepy West Cork village where she grew up. No one in Killrowan knows what Grace is running from – or that she’s even running. She’d like to keep it that way.

Taking over from her father, Des, as the village doctor offers a real chance for Grace to begin again. But will she and the family adapt to life in a small rural community? Will the villagers accept an outsider as their GP? Will Grace live up to the doctor that her father was? And will she find the inner strength to face the past when it comes calling?

Season of Second Chances is a heart-warming story of friendship, love and finding the inner strength to face a future that may bring back the past.

Perfect for fans of Call The Midwives, The Durrells, Doc Martin and All Creatures Great and Small. The villagers of Killrowan will steal into your heart and make you want to stay with them forever.

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THROUGH THE BARRICADES by @denisedeegan Fabulous #Irish war time #HistFic #SundayBlogShare

Through the BarricadesThrough the Barricades by Denise Deegan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Through The Barricades is an Irish based historical fiction.

The prologue opens in 1906, a house fire. Maggie Gilligan’s father gets her to safety out of a bedroom window. His last words to her are “Make a difference in the world, Maggie”.

Chapter one begins in 1913, Dublin. It is seven years after her father’s death. Maggie meets Daniel and Michael, two boys who help her with a flat bicycle tyre. They talk of trouble in the city, strikers are causing riots, Maggie fiercely defends them to the surprise of the boys.

Daniel is intrigued by Maggie, his privileged upbringing has sheltered him from the plight of the poor. He is determined to see Maggie again and learn more. Maggie challenges Daniel to help her at a food kitchen and her determination to help those in need and fight for their rights opens his eyes to so much more.

They become friends, joining the Na Fianna, a scouts youth group, but one of many rebel groups within Ireland wanting equality and an end to British rule. Daniel realises that all his education has been about British history, he hears of the 1695 Penal laws used to suppress the Irish. As his love for Maggie grows, so does her determination to fight for Ireland. Desperate to protect her he believes that when WW1 breaks out if he signs up and fights for the British army they will allow home rule for the Irish once the war is over.

The war for Daniel and Michael is terrible, they are sent to Gallipoli and the reality is devastating. Back home Maggie cannot rest, she takes on dangerous work for the rebels which culminates in the Easter Rising of 1916.

I really enjoyed this book, I read it all in one afternoon and evening as I was so engrossed in the storyline, the passion of the characters, the historical detail and the experience I came away with from reading this. Like Daniel I learnt about the background to the Easter Rising, and I learnt about what it was probably like fighting in Gallipoli. Truly horrific on both accounts.

Recommended for those who like good detailed historical fiction, yes it is laced with a romantic theme, but it was subtle enough to be part of the passion of the book.

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Book Description

She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her. 

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor. 

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative . . . as downright infuriating. 

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. 

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive?


About the author

Denise Deegan

Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. 

Denise has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was being a checkout girl, although ultimately this experience did inspire a short story…

Denise writes for both adults and teenagers. Her novels have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Writing under the pen name Aimee Alexander, Denise’s contemporary family dramas have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

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